As I begin to tell the story of Toasted and Roasted – my new go-to cafe – I can’t help but recall the spirit of Meg Ryan’s character in the movie ‘You’ve Got Mail’ as she pontificates on the brutality of chains of bumps. In his case, bookstores. In mine, coffees.
And just like Meg Ryan in that classic fall movie, I write this as I see the changing leaves, feel that first seasonal chill, and feel warmed by the Chagacinno in my hands.
What is a Chagacinno you ask? I will make it.
What started as a small coffee roastery in the Poconos has turned into a welcoming neighborhood cafe, with a growing following. If you haven’t already heard of Bethlehem’s Toasted and Roasted, you have it now.
This take-out specialty cafe is fortunately on the corner of Broad and Center streets; some of you may remember it as Backdoor Bakeshop.
On the cool fall morning of my first visit, the warm sunlight cast shadows on the outdoor tables and chairs against the brick facade of the historic building.
A take-out window is open and ready for business, and a bright yellow door is open to welcome you. I chose the latter.
The interior is small, but open and airy. Immediate relaxation is achieved. The counter to my left houses baked goods, and behind it is all the essential coffee equipment – espresso machine, drip coffee maker, jug, grinders, blenders…
Shelves at the back of the space hold handmade mocha coffee soaps and beautiful mugs from Prodigal Pottery (a company whose mission is to employ women fleeing homelessness, domestic violence and trafficking sexual).
Lehigh Valley magazines lie on a table next to a window, and I feel an overwhelming sense of affection for my hometown.
I don’t know about you, but until the morning caffeine hits me, I might not be the most energetic person. As I enter this roasting paradise, a gentle voice greets me: “Hello! Happy Thursday.” From then on it was a happy Thursday, indeed.
I hereby give the biggest shout out to Toasted and Roasted “parents” Mike Khorosh and Ali Dickison, who not only provide truly kind and welcoming service, but the highest quality cup of Joe coffee I have ever had. had. The husband and wife team established T&R in 2016 and are passionate about quality in every element of coffee and farm-to-table roasting.
Toasted and Roasted prides itself on serving only the highest quality beans, sourced directly from farmers around the world.
The menu can tell you that from Brazil to Kenya, Colombia to Nicaragua, Ethiopia to Zambia, these signature blends are distinctly theirs. You can try a different one every day of the week.
The menu includes descriptions of the tasting tones of each coffee. My favorite ? Felix and Leo, named after the couple’s cats, is the place’s signature roast. It comes from Brazil and Colombia, with notes of chocolate, caramel, vanilla and peanut butter.
During my first visit, I tasted the latest addition to the menu: the Chagacinno. This star organic drink is a delicious blend of Chaga (a mushroom superfood), cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla, and monk fruit sweetener, with milk of your choice.
I know you’re thinking, “Mushroom?” Oh good? Khorosh says you can’t even taste it. He is right. It’s pure energy and focus in a sweet cup of ‘cinno’.
For non-coffee drinkers, there’s a stimulating selection of herbal teas and what the owners call “Lotus Refreshers” – a delicious, clean take on iced tea refreshers.
I recommend the seasonal green apple caramel.
To accompany your coffee, latte, tea or refreshment, I suggest you try the chocolate chip muffin. Their case of baked goods offers muffins, pies, crunchy and lightly glazed apple fritters, as well as a selection of fresh bagels.
If you visit Toasted and Roasted later in the day and are more in the mood for lunch, there are savory panini choices waiting for you, including The Turkey and Cheddar; Caprese (fresh mozzarella, basil pesto, vine tomatoes and balsamic glaze over herb focaccia); and grilled cheese.
Whether you’re on your way to work, grabbing a coffee on your lunch break with a friend, or enjoying a slow Saturday morning all by yourself, I highly recommend giving this place a try.
The quality is unbeatable. Mike and Ali have created a place that serves his neighborhood with a personal and loving touch.
If you find yourself coming back, it may not just be for the coffee. . . but for the happy/smiling faces that make you feel seen and cared for.
That’s the power of Toasted and Roasted.
Madelyn Dundon is a freelancer for The Morning Call.
Where: 92 E Broad St., Bethlehem
Hours: 7.30am-2.30pm Tue-Fri; 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Sat.
Prices: Coffee $3-$4; specialty drinks $4-$6; pastries $1.50 to $4
Credit card: Yes
Accessible to people with disabilities: Yes